Submitted By Simon Hardy Butler, October 1, 2017
Eons ago, it was parsley, solo. Then came the ’80s, and kiwi ruled the plate. After that, orange slices, flower-like radishes, diminutive cherry tomatoes.
Oh, restaurant gods, please make it stop.
I’ve never seen the point of garnishes at restaurants, a widespread practice that seems to have burgeoned in recent years and now has become the bane of my culinary existence. I practically can’t go to a regular neighborhood spot without seeing them. They’re all over dishes … and totally irrelevant. Does anyone really eat the parsley that adorns your dumplings? The sheaf of lettuce supplied with your burger?
Didn’t think so. And that suggests an even bigger problem than the prevalence of these items on restaurant dishes: Why are eateries continuing to provide them? If it doesn’t make sense with the components of the meal, don’t add it. Parsley doesn’t go with everything. Neither do orange slices. There is no need to add them to the sides of perfectly composed dishes. If a chef is truly worried about the contents of a dish, it shouldn’t be served. A little garnish of parsley won’t make it better.
This is my plea. It probably won’t be heard. Yet it’s a heartfelt one, as I feel this trend has gone a little amok. There are better things to include in meals to make them pretty. There are better ways to make them palatable.
A sprig of parsley isn’t one of them. Restaurant gods, are you listening? And no, cilantro won’t do the trick, either.
Sigh. What a world, right?
What a world.